Land Issues

Land Clearing



tec living 3

TEC stands up for our precious native plants and animals so that present and future generations can enjoy the amazing diversity and fertility of the world around us. When we see a beautiful butterfly, or listen to a song bird or marvel at a rainforest fringed stream – we know we need to protect what's left and restore essential areas. Our biodiversity also supports the long term sustainability of our agricultural sector – the water and soil needed for healthy harvests.

TEC's campaigns in 2014-15 are focussed on turning back the attacks on the laws that protect nature to give threatened species a voice in development decisions; and continuing the ban on broadscale land clearing. We are also targeting the new push to nurture habitat for biodiversity in urban areas.

Our new report about why we must protect the laws that protect nature:

Laws for the Bush, benefiting biodiversity and people (2014, 1.76mb]

Land for species [3.09min]

 What we do

In past years TEC produced the first national list of endangered species; achieved laws to protect threatened species (Threatened Species Conservation Act), ban damaging land clearing (Native Vegetation Act); and special protection for coastal wetlands and littoral rainforest. We also worked with rural stakeholders to increase the appreciation and conservation of native grasslands.

Actions you can take

  • Tell the NSW government to keep the laws that protect nature [Send a letter]
  • Arrange for your local community group to hear a presentation from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , our campaigner


Less than a decade ago NSW had one of the worst records for land clearing in the world. In 2004 the state sat behind only Indonesia, Bolivia, the Congo and Brazil in the rate at which native vegetation was being bulldozed.

australiaecosystems preeuropean             australiaecosystems present

Pre-European vegetation                           Native vegetation today

In response NSW developed has some of the best laws that protect threatened species and control land clearing of remnant native habitat. But now the government is reviewing them 'root and branch' to satisfy farmers, miners and developers who want to bulldoze the bush.  The federal government is also divesting its environmental approvals to state governments.  Both levels of government say they want to retain environmental standards - but this won't be possible if the laws are weakened!  

A majority of farmers value their environment and are able to use NSW’s Native Vegetation laws to their advantage. Current laws encourage landowners to formulate a plan for their land, access funding to protect native vegetation on their properties, and at the same time gain a better understanding of what environmental assets their area contains. Property values are also known to be higher on land where native vegetation has been retained, while pockets of native vegetation are also known to lessen water losses and provide habitat for the natural predators of farm pests.

Twenty two mammal, 56 bird, 12 reptile, 4 amphibian and over 140 plant species listed as threatened in NSW have been named by the NSW Scientific Committee as being adversely affected by land clearing. Federal Environment Department figures show that for every 100 hectares of woodland cleared the habitat of 1,000 to 2,000 birds is permanently destroyed, while in some ecosystems up to 200 reptiles will be killed per hectare cleared.

Weakening the laws will once again put millions of hectares of bushland at risk.



Our media releases:

Farmers misinformation campaign reaches new heights (12/10/12)

NSW Farmers want 'license to bulldoze' (31/8/12)

Illegal land clearing - a challenge for O'Farrell Government (30/8/12)

Environment groups gear up for land clearing law fight (20/7/12)

Campaign launched (17/7/12)

Native Veg Law Review - excuse to boost land clearing (1/6/12)

MP's call encourages breaches of land clearing laws (11/5/12)